Reviews

Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer

zaporiah's review against another edition

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1.0

I really wanted to like it. It’s just not for me. I fell that nothing has happened in 71 pages. Part of me wants to go on because it has good ratings. A bigger part of me is done.

lambders's review against another edition

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3.0

Gets much better as you proceed through the book! It really picks up after the first third. Kind of hard for me to rate this book -- it was so hard to get through the first half but then a breeze the second half. The world itself and the ideas presented are really interesting, I loved how pieces of the plot are gradually revealed, the political system had me curious. On the other hand Mycroft's narration style/asides to the reader really did nothing for me. And I kept wishing for more depth to Bridger (not super believable as 13 years old... more like 8 years old). Toss up whether I'll finish the series.

hawaiianabyss's review against another edition

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adventurous mysterious tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

celinet2020's review

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challenging dark mysterious tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.75

Rating: B+ 


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squidface's review against another edition

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adventurous funny mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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teachergabi's review against another edition

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3.0

"You will never understand this history if you do not dare read about another's God."

I'll admit, I may have read this book a couple of decades too early. 😂

I could summarize it this way: "Ada Palmer has created a futuristic world so different from anything I've ever read, watched or heard of, where nation states don't exist, where religion is banned and gender forcibly eradicated with the use of interchanging pronouns and gender neutral language (I'll also admit that this was the part that drove me mad, and made me realize how much of my thoughts of a character, whether fictional or real, are based on assumptions I make based on gender). It is a world with centuries of peace. And yet, the seemingly perfect utopia is on the brink of social collapse."

I could, but that wouldn't be complete. For what made me plod through and finish the book was the deep respect and admiration I have for the author's brilliant prose, her ideas all contributing to "The Great Conversation" which includes all philosophical, political and moral thought from the time of the Ancient Greeks until this modern one, based on Enlightenment ideas. It thrilled me to be a part of this conversation, albeit only a reader/listener.

Did I enjoy reading it? Yes and no. Yes, for the incredible style and all the learning contained within! I need to re-read it to properly savor the heavy themes!

But also, it was difficult reading. And for that, I would have to say "no" as well. It made my head ache!

I SHALL read the next books in the series. But perhaps, I need to wait a decade or more, so I may grow in wisdom and understanding, so I can appreciate them more fully. Perhaps I'll be ready... In 2454 (the year the novel is set), haha.

Trivia for NK Jemisin fans out there: This book was a finalist to be considered for the 2017 Hugo, which eventually went to THE OBELISK GATE.

casella's review against another edition

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4.0

Absolutely brilliant, challenging, inventive story. A true "novel of ideas". Style may turn some people off, but for me it was a delight. Highly recommended if you're looking for cerebral, many-layered SF.

Full review on Positron: http://positronchicago.blogspot.com/2016/09/review-too-like-lightning.html

capellan's review against another edition

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1.0

I hated this, and finished it only because that hatred did not fully coalesce until I was 80% of the way through.

Tiresome authorial gimmickry, vile and stupid one-dimensional characters, a plot that doesn't actually properly start until the final chapter because it wants you to buy book 2 (and 3 and 4 -- none of which I will read), and a whole bunch of juvenile sexual peccadilloes.

The worst thing I've read since London Fields.

mailis_m's review against another edition

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1.0

DNF at page 76.

I was quite excited about that book, I knew it was going to be an ambitious one and a hard one to read, so I got myself ready and started it....

Well, I didn't knew what I was in for. In those 76 pages I had the urge to throw the book on the over side of the room at least 3 times with frustration and anger and another time where I laughed really hard at the absurdity of one of the sentence.

Its a hard miss for me.

badmc's review against another edition

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3.0

This is a murder mystery in 25th century, where gender and religion are illegal, and some really weird world leaders meet in unusual circumstances. Aaaand it's all narrated by a serial killer. Also, there is a god in a child's form. Really.

I took my time with this book. It's thickly layered with philosophy and it raises many interesting questions, which for me boiled down to "What does it mean be human?". It is easy to get lost in this book, full of characters, places, and ideas all thrown at you. In this 'sink or swim' situation I merely floated, letting most of it flow past and choosing that which I found interesting. I chose to ignore numerous and confusing characters (there is no index) and focused on the few: our narrator, the boy he guards, and a "family" he is a part of.

This is a slow burner. Stuff happens, but it is hard to follow, and interwoven with meta moments I didn't care for much. The author really put thought in it: you can immerse yourself in linguistics, in psychology, sociology, statistics, theology... It was a bit much at times, to tell the truth. It didn't help that the narrative jumped around quite a lot, and that being confused about character interactions, or kept in the dark about their motives, also means you don't care for them that much. What kept me going was curiosity, more than anything else: what will the author throw in next? Which philosopher also found his home in this 25th century setting?

The book really starts going in the second half, the pace accelerates, the stakes get higher (or don't, but one just then manages to grasp all the clues), and down the rabbit hole you go. I was very repulsed by some of the scenes and all that "moral is relative and a social construct" bit about how the actions of human animals is also quite ambiguous and really, can you prescribe moral standards to beings quite outside your world?... it just made me sick and made most of the characters unappealing. That is not a good thing, damn it! I want to root for someone!

All that being said, I will read on. This is just too interesting to pass up!